We are so often concerned about the what ifs of life. The unknown tends to scare us. But life is full of unknowns. So, do we live our lives in fear? Or do we choose to live by faith? Is fear of the unknown going to be allowed to paralyze our lives and dictate our responses to life? Or are we going to learn, grow and mature in faith?

The word “if” is a tiny two letter word with a huge impact on our lives. The following story on Bible.org is a great example of the bondage that we allow ourselves to live with.

Fear of the Unknown

An Arab chief tells the story of a spy captured and sentenced to death by a general in the Persian army. This general had the strange custom of giving condemned criminals a choice between the firing squad and “the big, black door.”

The moment for execution drew near, and guards brought the spy to the Persian general, “What will it be,” asked the general, “the firing squad or ‘the big, black door?’”

The spy hesitated for a long time. Finally he chose the firing squad.

A few minutes later, hearing the shots ring out confirming the spy’s execution, the general turned to his aide and said, ‘They always prefer the known to the unknown. People fear what they don’t know. Yet, we gave him a choice.”

“What lies beyond the big door?” asked the aide.

“Freedom,” replied the general. “I’ve known only a few brave enough to take that door.”

The best opportunities in our lives stand behind the forbidding door of the great unknown.

Don McCullough, Solana Beach, California, quoted in Leadership, Winter Quarter, 1992, p. 57

copied from: https://bible.org/illustration/fear-unknown

We are often bound by our fear in a trap that Satan designed for us. He wants to disable us so that we cannot live in the freedom that God has already given us. The truth is that we became free at the cross. When we accepted Christ as our savior, that freedom was made available to us. But we lack the ability to appropriate that freedom because we harbor a belief system that lies to us and creates fear in our hearts; fear of the unknown and fear of stepping out in faith.  Heb 11:6 tells us that it is impossible to please God without exercising faith. Exercising faith defeats our enemy, Satan. Faith is simply choosing to believe that what God says to us and about us, is true even when we cannot see the evidence.

God promised Abram something that was humanly impossible. Abram believed God. Because of that, God counted that to him as righteousness. Did you hear that? Abram chose to believe that God would do what He said even though it was physically impossible. God made Him wait for a long time, but He did what He had promised at the appointed time. Abram’s faith carried him through. He held onto the promise; not perfectly, but as a growing and maturing in the Lord. Read the story in Gen 12-13.

If we want to please God, we need to start by choosing to believe God, maintain that belief throughout life and finish by having lived by faith in God. God says so much about us and what He will do for, in and through us. It is hard to have faith in God if we do not even know what God says in the scripture about the promises He makes and about who we are in Christ. Study the scriptures every day to learn about Who God really is, what He promises, and who we are. Did you know that the Bible defines us? It tells us who we actually are, not who we think we are or who others tell us we are.

As always, if you doubt what God says in the scripture about you and His promises for you, reach into your heart to the place where that doubt is coming from and , in that place, ask God to apply the truth that you need to hear from Him. God is faithful and will set you free in the places where the lies are locking you into a defeated life.

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

It looks like God wants us to choose to put down the fear we carry so that we can pick up the peace He has given to us. Below is a song that addresses the issue of living by faith. I have underlined key thoughts in the first stanza. Do the same with the rest of it as an exercise to help your thoughts follow the deeper meaning instead of just skimming through the song.

Original Trinity Hymnal, #700

When we walk with the Lord in the light of his Word
What a glory he sheds on our way!
While we do his good will, he abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But his smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh nor a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil he doth richly repay;
Not a grief nor a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blest if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove the delights of his love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor he shows, and the joy he bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at his feet,
Or we will walk by his side in the way;
What he says we will do, where he sends we will go,
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Copied from: http://opc.org/books/TH/old/Blue700.html

When we walk with the Lord… how? In the light of His word; what He says. Every interaction we have with life needs to be on the foundation of scripture, its promises and its definitions of who God says He is and who God says we are. We cannot know this unless we immerse ourselves in the word of God.

I pray that God will richly bless you and give you peace as you seek Him and study His word.